The National Pharmacy Association has welcomed the commitment in the leaked draft of the Labour Party Manifesto, which commits a future Labour Government to halt pharmacy closures and review provision to ensure all patients have access to pharmacy services, particularly in deprived or remote communities.
The leaked manifesto, viewed on news.bbc.co.uk, says, "We will halt pharmacy closures and review provision to ensure all patients have access to pharmacy services, particularly in deprived or remote communities."
NPA chairman, Ian Strachan, said:
“We are naturally delighted that the Labour Party is committed to halting the programme of pharmacy closures. There is a better way to achieve efficiencies than by applying funding cuts – one which builds on the strengths of the community pharmacy network rather than dismantles it.
“With consistent support from policy makers, pharmacies can do much more to take pressure off GPs and hospitals, make access to NHS care more convenient and help people with long term conditions.
“Importantly, the Labour Party is also calling for a review of access to pharmacy services in deprived areas. The community pharmacy network is a part of the health service that can truly be said to serve all communities, including the most vulnerable neighbourhoods. It is vital to preserve access to pharmaceutical care for those in most need. Cuts to local pharmacies will have a disproportionate effect on people who live in the most deprived areas of England, where there is already a lack of NHS healthcare provision.
“The NPA has been in dialogue with the Labour front bench team for many months and they have been vocal in parliament on this issue.
“Politicians from all political parties have expressed their support for local pharmacies, so we look forward to similar commitments in other manifestos.
“The General Election gives us another platform to get the message across to politicians that pharmacy is a vital part of the NHS frontline and requires their active and consistent support. NPA members will shortly be sent leaflets and a poster to display in pharmacies – they encourage patients to raise pharmacy issues with election candidates when the candidates knock on their doors to canvass support.”